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NSW Blues hooker Api Koroisau is mastering a craft scorching on the heels of Queensland Maroons nice Cameron Smith


They may do worse than give slightly glimpse into what makes a participant like Koroisau so efficient, particularly when it’s not so simply detected within the lounge room.

“It’s all my eyes or my toes,” Koroisau says. “There’s a saying, ‘you lie along with your toes while you play hooker’. As quickly as my physique place appears prefer it’s going a method and comes again one other, that offers me that half-a-second or a millisecond to offer the boys a little bit of a time.”

Api Koroisau takes on the Queensland defence in Origin II.

Api Koroisau takes on the Queensland defence in Origin II.Credit score:Getty

Simply final week, Koroisau pulled off a kind of performs even those who know him finest didn’t suppose was coming.

Because the Panthers attacked the Roosters’ line deep within the second half, and with Isaah Yeo and Nathan Cleary manning the pinnacle of a protracted backline, Koroisau angled his physique for a left-to-right move, his eyes solely wanting in that path. As soon as the ball was performed, he ever so barely jerked his physique that method, after which exploded off his proper foot to dive low to the left and rating.

The 2 defenders he fooled? NSW captain James Tedesco and squadmate Victor Radley.

“That was simply from wanting and transferring his physique,” Tedesco says. “It’s most likely exhausting to explain, however that’s how he’s performed his complete life. I’ve obtained to learn the place he’s going, and should you attempt to go early he’ll ship you the mistaken method.”

Says Koroisau’s Penrith teammate Jarome Luai: “His eyes idiot me, man. You watch our video games and I feel I’m getting the ball, then he goes again the opposite method. His deception is loopy. You don’t know what he’s going to do subsequent.”

Whereas Cleary has been hailed for his “really feel” of a sport, slowing play down when it fits his staff, and stepping slightly nearer to the benefit line and dashing it up when he feels it’s wanted, Koroisau is one other with the uncommon artwork of dictating tempo.

After NSW coaching, he’ll pull apart considered one of NSW’s finest ever hookers, Danny Buderus, and discuss by what had simply occurred within the session. It’s given Burderus slightly window into the thoughts of the 29-year-old, who will be part of Wests Tigers on a big-money deal subsequent yr after serving to the Panthers to the 2021 title.

“When he performs, it’s like he’s taking part in poker,” Buderus says. “That’s all it’s. It’s only a poker face the place you’re going, promoting, deceiving. I assume should you’re [not rapid off the mark], you’ve obtained to have good tempo. If you happen to don’t have specific velocity, it’s important to have that promote. That’s Api and Cam. They needed to have that promote to create house for his or her teammates.

“I really like how everyone seems to be all the time on guard once they’re taking part in with him. There’s no such factor as a decoy while you’re taking part in with Api. Even should you don’t suppose you’re going to get it, there’s all the time an opportunity.”

‘When he performs, it’s like he’s taking part in poker.’

Danny Buderus

Whereas his youthful teammates Luai, Brian To’o and Stephen Crichton set the temper of any staff they’re in, Koroisau turns to meditation and tries to maintain up along with his personal mantra: don’t let the nine-year-old die in you.

Meditation was necessary after he was fined for breaking COVID-19 protocols final yr the evening earlier than Origin II in Brisbane, copping a heavy tremendous and seemingly shedding any probability of taking part in for NSW once more.

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However like he’s finished to so many defenders earlier than, Koroisau bought one other dream to teach Brad Fittler along with his scorching kind, and shapes as an enormous issue within the sequence decider.

“With the bodily facet, I can’t sustain as a lot, however you’ve simply obtained to search out different methods,” he says. “The sport is a lot quicker, so that you’ve obtained to search out different alternatives across the subject, utilizing a bit extra deception. It’s modified the best way I play.”

A lot so, that he may also have a highlights bundle slightly like Smith by the point he’s finished.

Watch the State of Origin decider completely reside and free on Channel 9 and 9Now.

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